DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION

FullSizeRender-4

Digital transformation means different things to different people – for me as well, the meaning of Digital Transformation has evolved in the past few years.

In the early years, Digital Transformation was a buzzword used to describe any business-IT project, a website or a mobile application. In the last few years the terms used in the digital space are becoming even more confusing with people using digital strategy, digital business and digital marketing interchangeably. These categories, while similar, are different; and to understand the differences and similarities we need to understand a few key trends in the market today:

  • Today we are seeing lines between business consulting and agency work blurring, we are also seeing that technology plays an integral role in shaping business strategy and decisions. There is a gap in skills in the industry where overlapping skills are needed i.e. we need tech-savvy marketers and strategic technologists.
  • Consulting firms have spent years working with chief executive officers and chief information officers on tasks ranging from developing high-end business strategies to implementing new technology. Now, they are increasingly targeting the chief marketing officer as the marketing segment of the C-suite is becoming more responsible for the overall customer experience.

Given this backdrop, it is clear that Digital Marketing and Digital Business are two sides of the Digital Transformation coin, where one is incomplete without the other. To elaborate a little further:

Relationship Marketing is a term often used in Digital Marketing to mean ‘being able to understand customer segments’. Typical tools used to identify customer segments are journey maps, job shadowing, ‘day in the life’, market research etc. These tools are used in Digital Business as well to understand the customer, create personas etc. but the context is different; the context is influenced by complex interdependencies between people, process, policies and technologies to build a common vision and vocabulary of the customer within an organization, they are used to uncover customer interactions and pain points across all channels and are key to solving the ‘right’ problem. It is worth noting that by overlaying the customer journey maps with specific business goals such as improving productivity and efficiency or increasing customer engagement and loyalty, we can not only identify  ‘new’ problems but also define ‘new’ solutions to old problems. More details are available at Niti Vaish’s blog and at Kerry Bodine’s blog.

Understanding the customer and business priorities through the lens of customer experience require a ‘new breed’ of innovators who understand the ‘convergence’ of customer experience, business / digital strategy and technology

Metrics – most marketers think of SEO and SEM when discussing metrics, while these metrics are important, they don’t paint a holistic picture if they don’t tie back to business goals. With every mobile, social and web initiative it is critical to identify the ‘the behaviors that need to change’, metrics that map to these behaviors and the process and tools available to measure and track these metrics. It is a top priority to take a measured, cohesive approach to paid social’s place in the overall business and marketing strategy – and budget.

And most important of all, Culture and Skillset – organizations require leaders with business-technology skills, innovative mindset and new organization models that understand the need for convergence of business, technology and marketing. These high-performing, experienced individual with a knack for identifying business and technology process improvement opportunities and simplifying interfaces, make the difference between project success and failure because of their judgement and ability to understand data patterns.

In this brave new world ‘Every Brand is a Media Company and Every Brand is a Technology Company’ – its time to think big and be transformative.

Advertisements

Convergence of Marketing and Technology

With the convergence of marketing and technology, companies are struggling to identify the rightful owner(s) within an organization responsible for prioritizing opportunities which will drive business growth and engage the empowered customer.

Additionally as the use of mobile, social and web increases, it has become critical for organizations to create a 360-degree view of the customer, highlighting both good and bad experiences, across channels and  touchpoints. In addition to focusing on business imperatives such as reduced cost, increased loyalty etc. to drive the customer experience, companies should also consider ‘engagement imperatives’ such as identifying customer pain-points, improving convenience and motivating customers to change behaviors which in turn will lead to increased ROI.

As organizations attempt to understand the customer better by creating customer journeys as well as creating a 360 degree view of the customer cross channels and touchpoints, they need to consider the ‘impact’ these innovative technologies will have on the enterprise. Some key considerations to keep in mind are listed below:

  • Identify Leaders: Identify leaders within the organization to drive the business model innovation required to incorporate new channels such as mobile, social and digital.
  • Create New Business Models: New business models will need to be developed which are nimble, agile and rapidly iterate.
  • Portfolio Optimization:  To achieve portfolio optimization organizations will need to drive alignment and synchronization of activities cross-brand, cross-channel and cross-stakeholder group (Decentralized approaches imply higher costs).
  • Update Business Processes: Current transaction-based processes may need to be updated to deliver personalized, targeted content tailored to the lifestyle of the customer.
  • Update Operational Governance and Management Processes : Operational governance and management processes will need to be built that tap into new market opportunities and customer needs.
  • Co-Create Value with the Customer: Organizational structure of the organization will be impacted by introducing customers into product development efforts.
  • Co-Create Value with Partners: Organizations will need to collaborate with players, such as information technology companies, design agencies, companies providing strategy / management etc. to deliver customer-centric products and services, as they may not have the resources and skill-set in-house to build relevant offerings.
  • Integration of Systems : Building a 360 degree view of the customer requires an understanding of data integration requirements between disparate data sources namely systems of record such as CRM as well as data from social networks like Twitter and Facebook. Data architects will now be required to build processes to connect structured as well as unstructured data